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  • Writer's pictureJon Bowden

7 Tips For A Great Corporate Video

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

Tasked with making a video for your company? Not sure whether to have a crack at doing it yourself, or to hire in a professional? Read these 7 tips to help you plan your project and get awesome results.

1. People LOVE stories

Think about it: stories move us. Not some sales blurb, ad or amazing new feature.

It's stories about people that we share, we like, we comment on.

Choose locations that are quiet, offer natural lighting and are visually interesting for your corporate video

But when it comes to telling a business story, sometimes it can be hard to find the emotional tug. Yet that's where magic lies.

In the spirt of story-telling, here's a quick one about a client of mine: they're a leader in apprenticeship training programs. Yes, they've got more than 35 + trades covered, have a talented team, won awards blah blah blah.

They don't talk about this so much.

Instead, they tell the most incredible stories by young people whose lives have truly been transformed through apprenticeships. It's real-life stuff.

What's more, these stories are 100% authentic, told from the heart. Told by young people who were heading down a road of poverty and unemployment.

Each brings their own special angle, sometimes sad, sometimes cocky. But all genuine.

Young people love them. They see similarities, and become inspired to change their future. It's probably one of the most rewarding video projects I've been involved with.

And of course, video is the perfect medium for this content. We hear the authenticity in their voices, see the faces light up as they talk about their future, and how proud they are of their apprenticeship.

Make sure you find the magic in your organisation and tell that story.

2. Give Your Story an Arc

Like every good novel or movie, your video needs to follow a defined story arc (sometimes called the narrative). There are 4 main points to remember:

a) The quest: what's the issue we're trying to resolve? In the case of the apprentices mentioned above, most of them shared a similar woe about their future - or lack of.

Clearly define what your quest is.

b) The inertia problem: paint a picture of what could happen if "the quest" is left unaddressed. The aim here is to make viewers think about the consequences of doing nothing. So in the apprenticeships' example, their employment prospects could be slim without specialist training or qualifications.

c) The critical choice: present options that may solve "the quest". Focus on examples that lead the viewer to make a shortlist of what's important, which if done correctly, will naturally lead them to your solution. In the apprenticeships' example, students place high value on the ongoing support they received throughout their training.

b) The resolution: explain how your product or service is the right fit for "the quest".

3. Choose Talent Carefully

Don't assume the CEO or any other senior manager is the best person to feature in your videos. Dare I say it, but sometimes the C-suite may be too corporate-y to make that all-important human, emotionally-rich connection with your target audience.

Customers are always a great choice - and are likely to have a lot in common with your target viewers. But again, chat with them first to gauge their confidence and presentation style. Some will feel honoured. Others will run a mile.

I've often found that salespeople and customer success staff can have strikingly-good on-screen charm.

They're natural, confident communicators. And most will jump at the chance to get in front of a camera, and enjoy the limelight.

From experience, scripts - unless they're shown on autocue - can be hard to memorize word for word.

Instead, provide your talent with key talking points, in bullet form. The sentences flow so much easier than trying to remember a script.

4. Location. Location

Avoid the all-too-easy office or boardroom as your backdrop. By all means, choose settings which are relevant to your story - such as the manufacturing site where you make your widgets for example - but if it's a talking head piece, then consider filming outside. Even better if your talking head is doing something at the same time e.g. walking into your building, anything that shows a human element. It adds more visual interest than talking square onto a camera.

Always check the weather and make sure there's no sound distractions if you're filming outside, and get the necessary permits.

5. Insist on High Productions Standards

Of late, there's been a backlash against company videos made on the cheap via smart phones.

The quality is often poor, the images blurred and shaky, and almost always, the audio is muffled.

Consequently, the viewer gets a bad experience, engagement rates are low, and the overall effect is negative.

Having said that, I have seen some superb DIY videos (mostly for internal communications purposes) made with smartphones. But the common denominator here is that usually tripods, lapel mics, lighting and other essential equipment have been used.

Be aware there are ALOT of moving parts that go into making a successful video.

Great lighting can make your on-screen talent turn love you (and vice versa)!

A directional mic can do wonders in minimizing waffle in the background.

And a quality camera with a suitable lens can turn your budget video into a beautiful, film-like masterpiece.

6. Editing Excellence

Ruthlessness and patience are what's needed now. A rookie's video will be long, with too much boring content.

Be harsh about every scene - does it really add to the overall message you're trying to convey?

Forget egos too - if your Sales Director's piece to camera is dull, then find another way to present their point - graphics or a voice over can solve this.

Another rookie giveaway is too many swooshy transitions or awkward gaps or links. Keep these to a minimum. And if you're using music - which can transform a video in my opinion - make sure you've got permission from the artist.

You'll probably need to allow at least two or three edit revisions before final approval, so factor in this time.

Think ahead as to other ways you could repurpose your footage? I'm often asked to edit full length videos into bitesize 15" versions for social media. These are great for attracting traffic to your site and increase SEO. So keep all your footage in a safe, secure location, with back up files easily available.

7. Share away

When your video is signed off, think of ways to share it (unless of course, it's for internal use only).

Ask staff to link to it from their LinkedIn accounts. Feature it across all your social media channels, and your website. Add a link to staff email signatures. Broadcast it at your tradeshows. Use it in your sales presentations. And ideally, add tracking software, such as Wistia, so you can see engagement levels and drop off rates.

Finally, as I mentioned, there are alot of moving parts in video production. A professional videographer / director will know how to make things work technically, how to work with your on-screen talent to get the best from them, and how to make the final cut a beautiful masterpiece you'll be proud of.

Good luck!

P.S. If you're looking to compare costs of producing your own video in house versus hiring a professional (like me!) why not take a look at this cost comparison calculator?

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